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DEAR READERS: Do you have a problem with odors lingering around the house? You may have noticed that expensive commercial products just mask the odor. It's time to try something you probably already have on hand -- cheap, safe and effective vinegar.

To remove leftover cooking odors in the kitchen, boil several cups of water and 6 tablespoons of vinegar in a pan on the stove. Add a little cinnamon for a lovely, homey fragrance. For smoke odors, place bowls of vinegar around the room. This will also work for fresh paint odor and other stubborn, lingering odors.

DEAR HELOISE: After this pandemic is over, I plan to fly to Michigan to see my new grandbaby. However, I need to walk with a cane, and I'm worried the airlines won't let me onboard with a cane. What should I do?

-- Clifton in Arizona

DEAR READER: If you need your cane to walk, you can take it onboard with you. It's an approved mobility aid. However, I highly recommend that you also check with your airline before you make your trip, to make certain the requirements haven't changed.

DEAR READERS: With so much time spent indoors over the past few months and with lovely fall weather coming, many people will be tempted to get out and take a day hike in nature. AARP has some suggestions that we should all follow to make certain we're safe. Before leaving for your trip, be sure to tell someone when you plan to start and return, where you'll be and which trails or where in the park you plan to explore. They should also know the names of anyone else who will be joining you. Be sure to have enough food and water and the necessary gear for your hike.

A walk in nature may be just what we all need to relieve the cabin fever we're feeling. Hike safely by being prepared and take a deep breath and enjoy the great outdoors.

DEAR HELOISE: To prevent onion odor from permeating the refrigerator and especially the crisper drawer, I use a resealable (zip-type) sandwich bag, and no more smells.

Also, to reduce time and simplify cleanup for cutting boards, when I cut onions I put a vegetable drying towel (a tea-towel or similar) on the cutting board and slice and chop onions right on the towel. As long as it's not a serrated blade the towel doesn't get cut and I just toss it into the laundry basket when dry to wash.

-- Peter B., via email

Send a money- or time-saving hint to Heloise, P.O. Box 795001, San Antonio, Texas 78279-5000; fax to (210) 435-6473; or email


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